Abnormality Q/A

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Psychology Flashcards on Abnormality Q/A, created by Panesarp1 on 12/04/2013.

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Created by Panesarp1 almost 6 years ago
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Question Answer
Explain how the therapist might use systematic de-sensitisation to help Hamish to overcome his phobia. Main techniques are: firstly, teach deep muscle or progressive relaxation. Then the therapist and client construct an anxiety hierarchy, starting with situations that cause a small amount of fear – in Hamish’s case this might be standing on a small stepladder – then listing situations that cause more fear, with the most frightening situation being at the top of the hierarchy, such as standing on top of a mountain. Finally, they work through this list, with the client remaining relaxed at each stage. The two main features are relaxation and working through the anxiety hierarchy.
Identify and outline key features of two psychological approaches to psychopathology. Psychodynamic. Key features include: mental disorders have a psychological rather than physical cause; unresolved conflicts are the cause, early childhood experiences influence mental disorders, the role of the unconscious is important. Behavioural. Key features include: only overt behaviour is relevant, abnormal behaviour is learned in the same way as normal behaviour, ie through conditioning, the role of the environment. Cognitive. Key features include: abnormality is caused by faulty thinking; in this model, it is the individual who is in control of their own behaviour. Credit may also be given to any other appropriate psychological approach to psychopathology. For each approach, 1 mark for a basic outline of a key feature and a further 2 marks for either an elaboration or for further features. Candidates may offer several features in less detail or a few features but in more detail. For full marks, there must be some link to psychopathology.
“Abnormality is very difficult to define. It can be hard to decide where normal behaviour ends and abnormal behaviour begins.” Discuss two or more definitions of abnormality. There are three definitions of abnormality named on the specification: deviation from social norms, failure to function adequately and deviation from ideal mental health. However, other definitions are also creditworthy. Candidates could offer several definitions in less detail or two definitions but in more detail, breadth/depth trade off. However, approaches or models are not creditworthy. The commentary could consider the strengths and/or limitations of each definition, eg the problems associated with cultural relativism or it could include a generic discussion of the problems of defining abnormality. One limitation of the deviation from social norms definition is that social norms change with time; this is illustrated by the changing views on homosexuality. With the deviation from ideal mental health, there is the problem of cross-cultural variations. A further problem is that the ideals are so demanding that almost everyone would be considered abnormal to some degree. The ‘failure to function adequately’ definition has the advantage of a more objective measuring scale (eg the GAF). However, it can be criticised as not differentiating sufficiently between abnormal behaviour and unconventional or eccentric behaviour.
Identify one definition of abnormality and explain one limitation associated with this definition. The definitions on the specification are: • Deviation from social norms • Failure to function adequately • Deviation ideal mental health However, other definitions are also creditworthy (eg statistical infrequency). AO1 = 1 mark for correct identification of a definition of abnormality. The limitation must be appropriate to the definiti on given. For example, one limitation of the deviation of social norms definition is that norms can vary over time. This means that behaviour that would have been defined as abnormal in one era is no longer defined as abnormal in another. With failure to function adequately, there is a cultural limitation in that the definition does not take account that ‘adequate’ behaviour varies from one culture to another. The main limitation with ideal mental health is that the criteria are so demanding that very few people will be able to meet all the criteria. AO2 = 1 mark for identifying the limitation and a further mark for elaboration.
Describe systematic de-sensitisation as a method of treating abnormality. SD involves the client and therapist designing a list or hierarchy of frightening/stressful events or objects. The client is then taught deep muscle relaxation. Finally the therapist helps the client to work their way up the hierarchy while maintaining this deep relaxation. At each stage, if the client becomes upset they can return to an earlier stage and regain their relaxed state. 1 mark for a basic statement and a further 2 marks for elaboration.
Knowledge and understanding of the psychodynamic approach to abnormality. AO2 = 6 marks Evaluation of the psychodynamic approach to abnormality. Candidates can consider the main assumptions of this approach as well as the therapies that are used. The main assumptions include Freud’s belief that abnormality came from the psychological causes rather than the physical causes, that unresolved conflicts between the id, ego and superego created anxiety, this could be dealt with by the ego’s use of defence mechanisms, early childhood experiences shaped later adult life and unconscious motivation were responsible for disorders. The techniques that are used to access the unconscious could include free association, dream analysis and the use of projective techniques. An answer that describes therapies alone cannot access the top bands (AO1). However, if the answer clearly demonstrates theoretical underpinning of therapy then it can access the full range of marks. The evaluation can include a consideration of the difficulty in supporting the existence of such abstract concepts such as the id, or repression. The lack of empirical evidence, although candidates may of course use Freud’s case studies as support. Candidates could also consider just how influential Freudian theory has been and they could examine the impact it has had on the way people think. An evaluation of the therapy could consider whether it is effective and for what disorders, as well as ethical issues.
Explain one weakness of systematic de-sensitisation. One weakness of SD is that it relies on the client’s ability to be able to imagine the fearful situation. Some people cannot create a vivid image and thus SD is not effective. Another weakness is that while SD might be effective in the therapeutic situation, it may not work in the real world.
Identify one definition of abnormality that could describe Diane’s behaviour. Explain your choice. Several definitions could be applicable: deviation from social norms; failure to function adequately and deviation from ideal mental health. Candidates need to engage with the question in order to explain their choice. However, they can make a case for any of the definitions. For example, deviation from social norms (1 mark): It is not the norm for someone who is 30 to have a temper tantrum, even though it is normal for a 3 year old, so she is breaking an age-related social norm (2 marks for explanation). 1 mark for identification of a definition of abnormality and further two marks for the explanation why it has been chosen.
Explain one limitation of this way of defining abnormal behaviour. The limitation must refer to the definition offered in part (a). For example, a limitation of the deviation from social norms definition is that social norms can vary from culture to culture. This means that what is considered normal in one culture may be considered abnormal in another. 1 mark for identification of a limitation and a further 2 marks for elaboration.
There are various types of psychological therapy for treating abnormality. 12 (a) Outline what is involved in psychoanalysis. Psychoanalysis involves a range of techniques that aims to bring material from the unconscious into the conscious. These could include free association, dream analysis and projective tests.
Outline what is involved in systematic de-sensitisation. SD involves teaching the client deep muscle relaxation, client and therapist constructing an anxiety hierarchy, and then working through the hierarchy while remaining relaxed.
Outline and evaluate the biological approach to psychopathology The key features of the biological approach to psychopathology are that disorders have an organic or physical cause. The focus of this approach is on genetics, neurotransmitters, neurophysiology, neuroanatomy etc. This approach argues that mental disorders are related to the physical structure and functioning of the brain. Description of relevant biological therapies can receive credit, but an answer that focuses solely on therapies will be limited to basic. AO2: Evaluation of the approach could be through research that supports these different causes, evidence from the use of therapies, or by consideration of disorders that do not seem to have organic causes and can be better explained by other approaches. The approach can also be criticised for ignoring environmental and developmental influences and alternative approaches can be used to elaborate this problem. Strengths of this approach include its testability via neuroscience research, evidence for genetic and neurotransmitter involvement in conditions such as schizophrenia.
Abnormality can be defined as ‘the failure to function adequately’. Outline and evaluate this definition of abnormality. Failure to function adequately (FFA) refers to abnormality that prevent the person from carrying out the range of behaviours that society would expect from them, such as getting out of bed each day, holding down a job etc. Rosenhan & Seligman suggested a range of criteria that are typical of FFA. These include observer discomfort, unpredictability and irrationality among others. 1 mark for a basic outline of FFA and a further two marks for elaboration. Evaluation of FFA:  Cultural relativism – what is considered adequate in one culture might not be so in another  FFA might not be linked to abnormality but to other factors. Failure to keep a job may be due to the economic situation not to psychopathology.  FFA is context dependent; not eating can be seen as failing to function adequately but prisoners on hunger strikes making a protest can be seen in a different light
Total for this question: 3 marks 12 The following statements refer to different approaches to abnormality. Select three statements that describe the psychodynamic approach. Tick three boxes only. A Holding unrealistic and irrational beliefs about oneself and the world. B Behaviour is caused mainly by the unconscious. C Behaviour is shaped by forces in the environment. D There is conflict between the id and the super-ego. E The human mind is an information processor. F Abnormality is caused by unresolved childhood problems B, D & F
Outline the biological approach to abnormality. The biological approach to psychopathology sees disorders as having an organic or physical cause. The focus of this approach is on genetics, neurotransmitters, neurophysiology, neuroanatomy etc. This approach suggests that mental disorders are related to the physical structure and functioning of the brain. If the answer only focuses on biological treatment without reference to underlying biological mechanisms, maximum of 2 marks.
What advice should the doctor give concerning the disadvantages of this type of drug therapy? Disadvantages: - Addictive properties Do no treat the cause - only the symptoms Side effects.
Identify one psychological therapy that Hugh could consider and explain why it might help him. There needs to be some reference to the underlying rationale.  Systematic desensitisation could be used to help him with his phobia of the dark because it will stop him being frightened and replace his fear with relaxation. Fear is incompatible with relaxation.  CBT could be used because it would help change his faulty cognitions about the dark that are preventing him from getting to work.  Psychoanalysis could be used to help him because it would access the unconscious where the repressed material is causing his abnormal behavior.
One definition of abnormality is deviation from social norms. Identify and explain one other definition of abnormality. Candidates may choose any definition: deviation from ideal mental health and failure to function adequately are named on the specification. However, other definitions such as statistical infrequency are also creditworthy. 1 mark for identifying the definition and a further 2 marks for elaboration.
Evaluation of one definition of abnormality Failure to Function Adequately: • Context is very important when deciding whether someone is functioning adequately; what may seem irrational in one context can be seen as rational in anothe r. This limits the definition. • Cultural relativism is an issue, what is considered adequate in one culture is not necessarily adequate in another. This also makes it difficult for this to be a universal definition. Deviation from Ideal Mental Health: • T he characteristics are very strict and it is unlikely that many people would be able to meet them all, thus being defined as abnormal. • The definition was based on Jahoda’s views of psychological health and therefore represents a very Western view.
Evaluate psychoanalysis The evaluation might consider: • Therapy is very time - consuming and is unlikely to provide answers quickly. • People must be prepared to invest a lot of time and money into the therapy; they must be motivated. • They might discover some painful and unpleasant memories that had been repressed, which causes them more distress . • This type of therapy does not work for all people and for all types of disorders . Evaluation which is focused on the psychodynamic approach can be credited as long as it is used to evaluate the therapy.